25 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in Florida
Encompassing 1,350 miles of coastline on the Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and many barrier islands, Florida is beach heaven. With a wonderful climate and sunny skies almost every day, life here revolves around sand and surf, and for dog owners it means finding a beach that allows dogs. Fortunately, almost every part of the state has at least a piece of beach where dogs are allowed, although on many they must be on a leash. Many beaches have a fenced area where dogs can run, and there are also some magnificent beaches where dogs can splash and roam off leash with their owners and truly enjoy freedom. Some of the most famous are Davis Island Dog Beach, Fort Myers Dog Beach Park, Anne’s Beach in Islamorada, Walton Rocks Dog Beach in Jensen Beach, Jupiter City Beach, and many other Florida beaches. Photo: Cheryl Casey/Fotolia
»Fort Myers Beach
Located in Fort Myers, between the Lovers Key State Park entrance and the New Pass Bridge, is Dog Beach Park, one of the most beautiful dog beaches in Florida and completely free of charge. Dogs are allowed to run off-leash in the sand and splash in the water while their humans are relaxing in the sand. There is a doggy shower for rinsing sand off, but there are no other facilities and the bathroom is portable. No alcohol or glass containers are permitted on the beach. The owners are responsible for cleaning after their pets. If you want to fish from the shore while your dog is having fun, you need to apply for license.
Contact: 8800 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
»Anne’s Beach (Islamorada)
Located in Islamorada, on Lower Matecumbe Key between Key Largo and Key West and hidden discreetly under an overpass, is Anne’s Beach, one of the very few public beaches in the Keys. The beach has two free but tiny parking lots, a large, shallow swimming area, shaded picnic tables, and bathroom facilities. The beach is wonderful for wading and strolling but is too shallow for swimming. The best news: The beach is pet-friendly and dogs love getting soaked and running around in the sand. The beach is quiet and secluded and protected from waves, perfect for a day in the sun, surrounded by mangroves. The owners are responsible for cleaning after their pooches.
Contact: Mile Marker 73.5, Lower Matecumbe Key, Islamorada, FL 33036
Apollo Beach is a lively waterfront community near Tampa Bay, known for 55 miles of canals as well as year-round fishing, boating, and other fun water activities. The beach in Apollo Beach is part of the 24-mile Canaveral National Seashore, a wonderfully wild place where visitors can come to get close to nature, take long walks, enjoy nude swimming, or bring their dogs to have some fun in the water. While dogs are allowed on the entire beach on a leash, there are two areas fenced for dogs – big and small – to run free. This surprisingly large area has nice picnic tables, a shady shelter, water fountains both for people and dogs, dog washes, poop scoop bags, and garbage bins for their disposal. The owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
Contact: 664 Golf and Sea Blvd, Apollo Beach, FL 33572, Phone: 813-671-7635
Atlantic Beach Dog Park is located on Aquatic Drive in the city of Atlantic Beach. To use the beach, the owners have to apply for membership with proof that their dogs have up-to-date vaccinations. Members can bring along guest dogs as long as they are vaccinated as well. There is a separate fenced area for small dogs, although dogs may use the area for large dogs at the owner’s discretion. There is fresh drinking water both for dogs and their humans. The park has benches where people can socialize and rest, a swimming pond for dogs, a rinsing station, poop bag dispensers, and trash cans. The dogs have to be on a leash while walking along the public beach until they are inside the park.
Contact: 268 Aquatic Drive, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233
»De Soto National Memorial Park (Bradenton)
De Soto National Memorial park is located about 5 miles from Bradenton, Florida. The 26-acre park is located on a peninsula surrounded by the Manatee River on three sides. Most of the shore, especially on the east side, consists of small sandy beaches. The park’s coastline is 3,000 feet long and consists mostly of mangroves. There is a great trail running through the park that is very popular with nature enthusiasts, hikers, bikers, and dog owners. Dogs are allowed in the park and on the beaches, but they have to be on a leash. The park is home to many protected plants and animals and the leash ensures that your dog does not interfere with the wildlife or gets injured by other animals.
Contact: 8300 Desoto Memorial Hwy, Bradenton, FL 34280
»Davis Island Dog Beach (Tampa)
Davis Island is an archipelago that consists of three small islands, with nice views and easy access to Tampa. There is a 2.5-acre designated dog park divided into two parts: One on dry, grassy land that is fenced, and an unfenced part across the road on the beach area that has 200 feet of waterfront where dogs can run free. Both parks have water spigots for drinking water and for rinsing off the sand. There is a bit of shade and some benches for humans. Both parts of the park are very popular and are often full of dogs. Their owners are responsible for cleaning after them and for ensuring that they behave.
Contact: 864 Severn Ave, Tampa, FL 33606, Phone: 813-274-8615
Photo: Dennis Tokarzewski/Fotolia
»Honeymoon Island State Park Dog Beach (Dunedin)
Honeymoon Island is a small barrier island across St. Joseph's Sound from Crystal Beach, Palm Harbor, and Ozona. Dunedin is located on the mainland and is the closest to town. The entire island is a state park, with about 4 miles of shoreline, covered in fine white sand, where beach lovers can enjoy a range of activities. There are designated swimming areas, a pet beach on the south end, and a great beach to the north that is full of colorful shells and perfect for long walks. There are showers near the boardwalks. While part of the beach is designated for dogs, they are not allowed to run or swim without a leash. Nevertheless, the beach is long and nice walks along the water are enjoyed by both dog and owner.
Contact: 1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698
Photo: Erin Cadigan/Fotolia
Flagler Beach is a small town on the Atlantic coast of Florida, between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach. The beach is spectacular, wide, and 6 miles long, with lots of colorful shells and enough space for everyone. Out of season it is great for long walks and collecting shells, and visitors often have the beach to themselves. The part of the beach north of N. 10th street and south of S. 10th street is considered a dog beach, but the dogs have to be on an 8-foot leash. There are no facilities, no water, and no doggy bags, so it is up to the owners to provide water for their pets and to clean up after them.
Contact: 2700 Oceanshore Blvd, Flagler Beach, FL 32136
Photo: Teressa L. Jackson/Fotolia
Most of life in Fort Lauderdale revolves around its 7-mile-long spectacular golden sand beach. Lined by a popular and always lively boardwalk, it is the place to hang out, people-watch, or take your dog for a walk. There are several spots on the beach designated for dogs. Residents can purchase an annual permit for their use and visitors can pay for a weekend permit. At Canine Beach, north of Sunrise Boulevard on A1A , near 1269 North Fort Lauderdale, dogs are allowed on the sand between November and March from 3 pm to 7 pm and from April to October from 3 pm to 9 pm. At A1A Dog Walking beach, on the west side of A1A, from Sunrise Boulevard south to the intersection of Seabreeze and Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevards, you can walk your dog on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, April to October from 3 pm to 9 pm and November to March from 3 pm to 7 pm. Dogs are allowed on the west side of A1A north of Sunrise Boulevard all day. At Riverwalk Linear Park, 20 N. New River Drive, from S.W. 5th to S.E. 2nd Avenues in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, dogs are allowed every day, all day, without fees.
Contact: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Photo: Rostislav Zotin/Fotolia
Hollywood is a small city on the east coast of Florida between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Beautiful Hollywood Beach is lined with stately palm trees and backed by the lively Hollywood Beach Boardwalk. Hollywood dogs are really lucky, with six beaches where they can enjoy sand and surf: John Williams Park, Hollywood Dog Park, Oakridge Park, Poinciana Park, Emerald Hills Lakes Park, and Dog Beach at Hollywood Beach. To use any of the dog beaches, dogs have to have rabies tags and the owners have to purchase a day pass or a six-month pass. Dog owners are responsible for appropriate behavior and must clean up after their pets.
Contact: Hollywood, Florida
Photo: Fotoluminate LLC/Fotolia
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»Canova Beach Park (Indialantic)
Canova Beach Park is 9.1-acre public beach park with fine golden sand, a small pavilion, a picnic shelter, a grill, benches, restrooms, a drinking fountain, and a few outside showers. A relatively small part of the Canova Beach is allowed for dogs – it is clearly marked on both sides. The dogs must have current shots and license tags and have to be on a leash. On the bright side, there is no fee for the use of the beach, and it is large enough for some splashing, digging, and playing with other dogs. The owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Poop bags and garbage bins are available.
Contact: 3299 N Hwy A1A, Indialantic, FL 32903
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»Walton Rocks Dog Beach (Jensen Beach)
If you are driving along Florida’s Treasure Coast with your dog, you will have a hard time finding a beach where you can let your pooch run freely. The only dog-friendly beach in St. Lucie County is Walton Rocks Dog Beach, right on the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is huge – 24 acres of fine sand – a heaven for dogs and their owners. There are a few picnic benches and tables as well as water and restrooms. The dunes along the beach are a habitat for delicate plant life and should not be disturbed; dogs and their owners should respect the signs to stay off the dunes. The owners should also make sure they clean up after their dog and leave the beach as beautiful and clean as they found it.
Contact: 6700 S Ocean Dr, Jensen Beach, FL 34957
Photo: Roman Stetsyk/Fotolia
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Jupiter is a modern town on Florida’s southeastern coast with 3.4 miles of spectacular sandy beaches, splashed by warm currents and surrounded by lush mangroves and massive dunes. Quite a large part of that beach is a designated dog beach – 2.5 miles between Marcinski Road and Carlin Park. Dogs are allowed to enjoy the sand and surf without a leash, but it is up to their owner to make sure that the dogs are friendly and to pick up after their dogs. Poop bags and garbage bins are provided. Visitors should be aware that there is a strong rip current. Access to the dog beach is free.
Contact: Jupiter, Florida
Photo: Jesse Kunerth/Fotolia
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»Hobie Island Beach Park (Key Biscayne)
Located just off the Rickenbacker Causeway in Key Biscayne, Hobie Beach is a favorite beach in Miami among windsurfers. Although fairly small, the beach is very popular for its warm water and spectacular views of the city. Hobie Beach is the only dog-friendly beach in all of Miami-Dade County. Pets are allowed to enjoy digging and running on the sand and splashing in the surf without a leash, but it is up to the owners to ensure that they do not disturb other beach visitors. There is not much shade, so it is important to make sure that the dogs have enough water. The owners have to clean up after their dogs.
Contact: 3501 Rickenbacker Cswy, Key Biscayne, FL 33149
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»Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach Park (Key West)
Beautiful 16.5-acre Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach Park is located on the Atlantic Ocean next to the Waldorf Astoria’s Casa Marina Resort in Key West. The park is known for its lovely sandy beach, lush vegetation, and a range of interesting attractions. Within the park is a Civil War era fort that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, an African refugee burial ground, the only underwater marine park in the country accessible from shore, and access to the Florida Overseas Heritage Trail. A portion of the beach is fenced and designated as a dog park. There are separate areas for small and large dogs.
Contact: 100 Atlantic Blvd, Key West, FL 33040, Phone: 305-295-4385
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»Haulover Park (Miami Beach)
Located only a short ride north from Miami Beach, between Sunny Isles Beach and Bal Harbour, Haulover Beach Park is one of the last remaining large stretches of undeveloped beach front in the area. The 1.4-mile-long beach park is famous for its clean white sands, open ocean surf, lush coastal vegetation, and plenty of opportunity for recreation. Dogs are not neglected in this family-friendly park. They are allowed off-leash in the area between lifeguard towers #2 and #3 every day from 8 am to 3 pm. There is also the fenced Bark Park, located near the south picnic area, which is open every day from 8 am to sunset and has separate areas for small and large dogs. There are large trees for shade, drinking fountains, picnic tables, doggy bags and garbage bins, and a large grassy area to run around. Part of Bark Park includes a portion of the beach.
Contact: 10800 Collins Avenue, Miami, FL 33154
Photo: Felix Mizioznikov/Fotolia
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»Smyrna Dunes Park (New Smyrna Beach)
Smyrna Dunes Park is a 73-acre protected area located at the northern tip of the New Smyrna Beach peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides. As the Indian River flows through Ponce Inlet into the Atlantic Ocean, it creates a unique mix of different ecosystems: Ocean, dunes, river, saltwater marsh, and scrub zone. Two miles of raised walkways have been created to protect the rich plant and animal life that makes this park its home. There are also picnic areas, an observation tower, and pavilions. Hiking through the park is very popular with nature lovers, and they can bring their dogs to enjoy nature as long as they are on the leash.
Contact: 2995 N. Peninsula Ave., New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169
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»Dog Beach at Pier Park (Panama City)
Featuring 27 miles of white sand beaches along the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Panama City Beach is a charming coastal town with a spectacular beach, two state parks, great fishing and scuba diving, and many fun attractions. Dogs are allowed on the beach only at the portion on Front Beach Road, to the right of the city pier. Dogs have to be on a leash and each person may bring a maximum of three dogs. The owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs, and poop bags and garbage bins are provided.
Contact: 16230 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32413
Photo: FLAMINGO DESIGN/Fotolia
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»Bayview Dog Park and Beach (Pensacola)
Bayview Park is a public park on Pensacola’s bayside near Bayou Texar. The park has grassy picnic areas, a playground, tennis courts, and walking trails. There is also a 1-acre fenced dog park with a grassy area as well as a beach with water access to the inlet. The area has covered shady picnic tables with benches as well as a few other picnic tables on the beach. Poop bags and garbage bins are provided. There are water bowls as well as showers for dogs and their humans.
Contact: 2000 E Lloyd St, Pensacola, FL 32503
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»Lighthouse Point Park (Ponce Inlet)
Lighthouse Point Park is a wild and undisturbed 52-acre park with a lovely beach at the southern tip of Ponce Inlet. The beautiful shoreline is often visited by dolphins, gopher tortoises, and land wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, possums, armadillos, and all kinds of shore birds. There are scenic nature trails, pavilions, an observation deck, and a tower. Lighthouse Point Park is one of the very few county parks that allow dogs, but they have to be leashed. Nevertheless, you and your pooch can enjoy a lovely walk along the shore through the mangroves and look at the picturesque view of the lighthouse. Poop bags for dogs are provided, so please clean after your dog!
Contact: 5000 S Atlantic Ave, Ponce Inlet, FL, 32127
Photo: Eric Gevaert/Fotolia
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»Gulfside Beach (aka Algiers Beach) (Sanibel)
Gulfside Beach, also called Algiers Beach, is one of the smaller beaches on beautiful Sanibel Island. It has wonderful white sand, colorful shells, and clear blue water. It also has restrooms, outside showers, picnic areas, and grills. The beach is located between a row of condominium complexes and luxury hotels, so is often crowded and lively. It is one of several pet-friendly beaches on Sanibel Island. The part of the beach designated for dogs is located near a nature preserve. The dogs can enjoy the sand and surf but have to be on a leash. Dog owners can take advantage of picnic tables in the shade and restrooms.
Contact: 2001 Algiers Ln, Sanibel, FL 33957
Photo: Sheri Swailes/Fotolia
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»Fort De Soto Park (Tierra Verde)
Spread across 1,136 acres, Fort de Soto Park is the largest and most beautiful park in the Pinellas County Park System. It consists of five linked small islands or keys. The keys are covered in mangroves, beach plants, wetlands, palm trees, hardwoods, and many other native plants. More than 328 species of birds live in the park. The beach also offers refuge to endangered loggerhead sea turtles, which come to nest here every year between April and September. The park has a historic fort, 7 miles of waterfront, 15 picnic shelters, playgrounds, piers, and a network of trails. Fort De Soto has a wonderful dog park where dogs are free to run on the beach and splash in the waves within a specially marked area. There are also two fenced grassy areas near the beach, for large and small dogs, with water stations.
Contact: 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715
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»Brohard Paw Park (Venice)
Brohard Park is the beach in Venice between Airport Avenue and Caspersen Beach. It runs from the South Harbor Drive west side from Beach Road to the city limits. The beach has all the expected amenities such as benches, picnic pavilions, restrooms, showers, and picnic tables. A part of this large beach called Brohard Paw Park is the only beach area in the entire county where dogs are permitted. The beach has doggy and human drinking fountains, fire hydrants, dog showers, leash posts, poop bags, and garbage bins. The owners are responsible for cleaning up after their animals.
Contact: 1600 S Harbor Dr, Venice, FL 34285
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Vero Beach Dog Park in the town of Vero Beach is a free dog park open to the local community and their dogs. This 5-acre space along the Indian River Lagoon next to the City of Vero Beach Marina offers a clean and safe environment for dogs big and small to roam and play off-leash. There are separate fenced areas for big and small dogs. Both have benches, chairs, a covered seating area, and water fountains for both humans and dogs. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, year round, every day. Access to the park is free but donations are welcome since the park is operated and maintained by volunteers.
Contact: 3449 Indian River Dr E, Vero Beach, FL 32963
Photo: Jesse Kunerth/Fotolia
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25 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in Florida
- Fort Myers Beach, Photo: Courtesy of jccain - Fotolia.com
- Anne’s Beach (Islamorada), Photo: Courtesy of Circumnavigation - Fotolia.com
- Apollo Beach, Photo: Courtesy of romarti - Fotolia.com
- Atlantic Beach, Photo: Courtesy of viktor2013 - Fotolia.com
- De Soto National Memorial Park (Bradenton), Photo: Courtesy of Edelweiss086 - Fotolia.com
- Davis Island Dog Beach (Tampa), Photo: Courtesy of Dennis Tokarzewski - Fotolia.com
- Honeymoon Island State Park Dog Beach (Dunedin), Photo: Courtesy of Erin Cadigan - Fotolia.com
- Flagler Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Teressa L. Jackson - Fotolia.com
- Fort Lauderdale, Photo: Courtesy of Rostislav Zotin - Fotolia.com
- Hollywood, Photo: Courtesy of Fotoluminate LLC - Fotolia.com
- Canova Beach Park (Indialantic), Photo: Courtesy of viktor2013 - Fotolia.com
- Walton Rocks Dog Beach (Jensen Beach), Photo: Courtesy of Roman Stetsyk - Fotolia.com
- Jupiter, Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Kunerth - Fotolia.com
- Hobie Island Beach Park (Key Biscayne), Photo: Courtesy of Anjan - Fotolia.com
- Clarence S. Higgs Memorial Beach Park (Key West), Photo: Courtesy of bennymarty - Fotolia.com
- Haulover Park (Miami Beach), Photo: Courtesy of Felix Mizioznikov - Fotolia.com
- Smyrna Dunes Park (New Smyrna Beach), Photo: Courtesy of svalka88 - Fotolia.com
- Dog Beach at Pier Park (Panama City), Photo: Courtesy of FLAMINGO DESIGN - Fotolia.com
- Bayview Dog Park and Beach (Pensacola), Photo: Courtesy of David - Fotolia.com
- Lighthouse Point Park (Ponce Inlet), Photo: Courtesy of Eric Gevaert - Fotolia.com
- Gulfside Beach (aka Algiers Beach) (Sanibel), Photo: Courtesy of Sheri Swailes - Fotolia.com
- Fort De Soto Park (Tierra Verde), Photo: Courtesy of duke2015 - Fotolia.com
- Brohard Paw Park (Venice), Photo: Courtesy of Weston - Fotolia.com
- Vero Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Kunerth - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Cheryl Casey - Fotolia.com
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